Santa Barbara Police Department Takes Delivery of Their New LDV-Built Mobile Command Center

Vehicle has satellite communications facilities, workspaces, generator and water tanks

By Brooke Holland, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @NoozhawkNews | February 13, 2019 | 6:26 p.m.

The Santa Barbara Police Department’s new high-tech mobile command unit will be dispatched during disasters, large community events and emergency situations. Funding for the more-than-$300,000 vehicle came from the city, the One805 philanthropy committee, and Santa Barbara Police Foundation. Police Chief Lori Luhnow officially accepted the donation during a ceremony at Fire Station No. 1 on Wednesday.

“Past disasters brought public safety closer together this last year, but more importantly it brought us closer to you all,” Luhnow said. “It’s reflective in this vehicle that’s going to be used specifically for our community in different capacities.”


The 32-foot-long, nearly 12-foot-tall custom-built vehicle features an onboard generator and water tanks that allow it to operate independently up to weeks at a time. It has satellite communication facilities, a radio mast and electronic gear so the vehicle can replace or augment a communication center, such as one that has been disabled during a disaster.

“It’s basically a mobile police station,” said Sgt. Eric Beecher, who assisted with the vehicle’s design.

The mobile response unit, manufactured by LDV Inc., has command staff meeting areas equipped with whiteboards, and video displays for planning and briefing sessions.

“This is going to be a huge improvement to our productivity when it comes to working major incidents,” he said. “In the past, we had to be outside in pop-up tents working in the rain or out in the dark, but now, we have the ability to do things from here, and our equipment is ready to go. Everything we need is basically here,” Beecher continued. “This is set up like a small conference room.”

This vehicle replaces the department’s outdated mobile command unit, Beecher explained, adding that the previous vehicle was more than 20 years old. The mobile command post is helpful when police are responding to a report of potential threats, such as a hostage situation. The vehicle also is useful for officers handling situations with large crowds, said Greg Hons, Santa Barbara Police Foundation executive director and reserve SBPD officer, who served as co-chair of the One805 philanthropy committee.

“You will see this at (Old Spanish Days) Fiesta, (Santa Barbara Summer) Solstice and at the Fourth of July,” Hons said. “This piece of equipment is going to make the community safer.”

One805 co-chair Eric Phillips said the group has raised and distributed more than $2 million, including funding for three mobile command centers in Santa Barbara County.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department received a mobile command center last year. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is slated to get a mobile unit this summer.

“That’s three new mobile command centers that I hope put Santa Barbara in a much better position during future emergencies,” Phillips said.

— Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at . Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.